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Eric M. Bright
Eric M. Bright, We Don't Comprehend the Word Can't!
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Experience:  I've been been doing things for my clients that others have said cant be done for over a 1/4 Century
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What would be considered a non-combustible wall construction

Resolved Question:

What would be considered a non-combustible wall construction to surround a wood stove to be to Standard Residential Building code? Stove is older model Fisher/not rated. Current surrounding walls are stacked stone with mortar on cement board. Is this sufficient?
Thank you.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Eric M. Bright replied 2 years ago.

Hi, Welcome to JustAnswer.com, I am glad you are here! My name is Eric & I will endeavor to answer your question.

 

The question I have is how long has there been a wood burning fireplace there operating successfully as is? You might not even have an issue.

 

If however, you are concerned and want to rebuild with metal studs and non-combustable wall board, it certainly could not hurt and if it gives you peace of mind and heart, than I see no problem doing so. A good nights sleep is priceless!

 

Durock is the best of the non combustible cement boards, Hardibacker is also acceptable, Wonderboard whereby might be OK has a mesh backing that in a fire can burn and emit fumes, Perma-shield has polystyrene in it causing the same hazardous fumes in an actual fire.

 

I recommend using Durock. Over the Durock you can use apply or install tile, brick, marble, granite, stone or you can just finish it with plaster or joint compound if you are looking for the basic painted wall finished look. It does come in 4 X 8 Sheet and it is advisable to use a large enough sheet so that you do not have any joints (except perhaps corners) within 12" of the fireplace.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dear expert. You didn't answer the question. What would be considered a non-combustible wall construction to surround a wood stove to be to Standard Residential Building code? Stove is older model Fisher/not rated. Current surrounding walls are stacked stone with mortar on cement board.
The wood stove has been in place and has been used by previous owners since home was built in 2003.

Would appreciate your answer to the question.

Thank you so much.

Merle

Expert:  Eric M. Bright replied 2 years ago.

Hi, I'm sorry, I though I had covered it. Let me restate:

 

A non-combustible wall would be metal studs sheathed with cement board and then finished with your choice of materials as I outlined previously. I also previously offered my advice on which cement board to use and which not to use. Use Durock.

 

That said, Your current surrounding walls which are stacked stone with mortar on cement board. Seem to me to also already be non-ombustable unless they are as you suggested, on wood studs. However, if the house was built in 2003, it is equally likely that they might indeed already be metal studs. If it is a more modern look you are after and do not like the existing stacked stone look and are going to rebuild because of that then metal studs sheathed with cement board is going to be your standard non-combustible wall around a fireplace.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you Eric.

This is not about looks, it is about safety. If the home was inspected for a CO when it was built in 2003, and it had the woodstove (not a fireplace) then - can we be fairly sure it is to code? It was not identified as an issue when we had the home inspected recently before we purchased it.

Merle
Expert:  Eric M. Bright replied 2 years ago.

Hi Merle,

Yes I completely understand. I was just making the point that it is entirely possible that what is there now is indeed totally noncombustible if you are able to determine the studs installed in 2003 are metal. If it was built and inspected in 2003 and passed the final inspection for your certificate of occupancy, it was therefore, determined to be up to code and thereby safe.

 

So your choices as I see them are as follows:

 

A. If you can determine that it was inspected, then I would (were it my home) accept that

as fact that it is safe and be fine with leaving it as it is.

 

OR

 

B. If you can determine that there are metal studs there now, then I would (once again

were it my home) understand it to be non-combustible and would be fine with

leaving it as it is.

 

OR

 

C. If the studs are wood and you can not determine that it was every properly inspected

and that it passed that inspection, (were it my home) I might also opt to rebuild with

metal studs and Durock. I would probably however, opt to try to salvage the stone

and re-install it after I built the wall back with metal stud and Durock. (Because I like

stone work)

 

Yes, I am sure that Metal studs and Durock will be up to code.

Eric M. Bright, We Don't Comprehend the Word Can't!
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 1923
Experience: I've been been doing things for my clients that others have said cant be done for over a 1/4 Century
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I've been been doing things for my clients that others have said cant be done for over a 1/4 Century